Q: HOW DO YOU EAT YOUR ICE CREAM?
A: With a fork and I have no shame in that.
Q: IS IT DIFFICULT BEING A COMPANION THAT IS BOTH A WOMAN OF COLOUR & PLUS SIZE?
A: One of my patrons told me once that I’m “hardcore” and have no “self-pity”. The beauty of companionship is that there is a seat at the table for everyone even if we cannot fully visualize it. If there isn’t a seat, by all means, bring a folding chair. Let’s keep it eight (8) more than 92 shall we? There is privilege in the industry based on the intersections of race, color, size, gender, location, etc. I see it at play often.
Am I upset by it? Absolutely not! That’s the way life works and life is a game. I have suitors across gender lines that recognize what I’m about and value our time together. Instead, I’ve opted to continue to learn my specific craft of companionship, foster relationships with those where the adoration is mutual, and focus on me.
Q: YOU MOVED TO MINNESOTA. HOW’S THAT?
A: Intriguing. I did grow up here for a brief moment of my life. What I can say so far is this: (1) Minnesota is just as beautiful I remember it (2) the weather was legit… until three weeks ago. What the fuck was I thinking? (3) the folx I’ve met have been phenomenal and (4) “Minnesota Nice” is the equivalent of the South’s “Bless your heart”. Don’t let them fool you.
Q: WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST FROM UNDERGRAD?
A: The university I attended was and still is… problematic. However, as an Alumna that has seen the progressive changes my Alma Mater is making, I’m still very proud to have matriculated there. Between the Klan protesting at football games, the slow removal of the last vestiges of the Confederacy, & riots after Obama’s reelection, there were some hidden gems during my time in undergrad.
I can recall the hour long journey, blindfolded in the dark, to the ‘Doorknob of the Universe’. Or how on game day we spent hours pre-gaming and getting ready in the dorms. The tailgating I’m used to includes tents, champagne, men in seersucker suits, and women in dresses with teased hair. Ya know, because “the higher the hair, the closer to God” they said. It was there I was reaffirmed in all of my cultures, especially my blackness. It was there that I started to realize who I really am and what matters to me. It was there that I became an advocate, a peacemaker, and a warrior. Then again, when your acceptance letter arrives on the anniversary of your Alma Mater being desegregated, it’s only fair that you learn some lessons.
Q: YOU’VE TAKEN A BIT MORE OF A DARKER TONE – EVERYTHING ALRIGHT?
A: The prose may be darker but it’s more representative of me & my growth this previous year. Personally, I had been toying with this idea for a while. But I struggled. How would I bring in this darker concept when I’ve built my brand on the tenants of authenticity, humbled luxury, & positivity? I realized if I’m to be authentic then I need to address the fears we all have as we grow up: the constructs of love, time, and death. Now more than ever considering the fact that the pillar of my family is battling terminal cancer; we’re finding the balance between quality of life and quantity of life.
I’m not sure if it was the pressure of a challenge or the universe bending to my will ever so slightly, but I found a way. To live within the contrasts of ‘edgy & dark’ whilst finding the beauty & the light in the dystopian world we live in… it’s possible.
Q: WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
A: Should you take a peek at my nightstand you would chuckle & in an amusing sigh say, “LJ”. There is a stack of books on my bedside table. All of them dog-eared at various stopping points. There’s a bit of James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Tim Wise, J.K. Rowling, Kristen J. Sollée, & Jacques Francis. I’m also reading a book a kind bloke gifted me when I was in Chicago called, Flash Boys. It’s quite good.
I’ve also read “Rebel Yell” (re: Stonewall Jackson), “Warrior Nation” (re: Red Lake band of the Ojibwa Nation), and “A Good Time for the Truth” (re: how race impacts those living in MN – it’s not actually as progressive as it appears).
Q: WAFFLES OR PANCAKES?
A: Waffles all day. Pancakes are great but I like a bit of texture and some crispiness. Sounds like my personality if we’re being 100.
Q: WE SEE A LOT ABOUT ‘BLACK WOMEN EMPOWERMENT’. DON’T YOU THINK THAT EXCLUDES PEOPLE?
A: No… I don’t. James Baldwin stated, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” His words still resonate in our current state of affairs surrounding Blackness.
There is a plethora of valid research out there communicating what we already have known: that our society views Black women, & other Women of Colour, as less than in regards to beauty & worth. Therefore, I see nothing wrong with empowering Black women to believe & know that they are just as much a gift to this world as those with a fairer complexion. To chip away at the rage & the pain.
So much of what I see in today’s culture is a derivative of Black culture, to the point of appropriation. Although this industry tends to be a bit more “woke” than others, this appropriation of culture can often be seen in sex work. My colleagues are often lauded for it. However, when those of us that do identify as Black embrace our culture we are either snubbed or are vilified for it. Therefore, I call out bullshit when it’s prevalent. It hasn’t made me the most popular in some circles but my values outweigh the need to be liked.
We are all unlearning & learning together.
Q: WHAT ARE THE GREATEST LESSONS YOU’VE HAD SO FAR?
A: As a ‘Cusper’ someone born on the line of two zodiacs, I have some distinctive Leo traits. Recently, the greatest lessons so far have been that:
- “Only gods & the dead can seem perfect without impunity.” Walking this fine line of performative authenticity has led to a level of fake “perfection” that I just no longer tolerate for myself. I rather be honest & own my flaws, as they are a part of me.
- That while it is in my nature to be a loner & silo myself, it’s also important to reach out, connect, & work diligently to maintain those connections.
- My ego, no matter how proud, sometimes needs to fall back & remember to just be grateful. And in the words of Kendrick, “show you something natural like ass with some stretch marks” & to “Be humble.”
All this reminds me of a quote a great friend sent me of by one of our faves. So, allow me to leave you with this:
“WE ARE WHAT WE PRETEND TO BE, SO WE MUST BE CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT WHAT WE PRETEND TO BE.”
— KURT VONNEGUT